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The iron ball[1] (鉄球[2] Tekkyū?), also known as the spike ball (トゲボール[3] Togebōru?) or spiked ball,[4] is an obstacle that appears in the Sonic the Hedgehog series. It is a variant of the more common Spikes, being a metal sphere covered in harmful spikes.

Description

Iron balls have maintained an overall consistent design over the course of the Sonic series, being heavy spheres covered in sharp spikes. The dimensions and colors of the iron balls have varied from game to game though.

In gameplay, when a playable character physically touches an iron ball, they will receive damage. As such, they usually serve as obstacles that are placed along the player's way. Occasionally, the iron balls will be stationary objects. In certain instances, however, they tend to be attached to chains or other devices that causes them to swing around. On other occasions, the iron balls will be moving around on their own, be it either on the ground or in midair.

In later games, such as Sonic Unleashed, Sonic and the Black Knight and Sonic Generations, iron balls can be set just on, or embedded in the ground.

Game appearances

Sonic the Hedgehog (16-bit)

SpikedBallSpringYardZone

Large iron balls in Spring Yard Zone in Sonic the Hedgehog.

The iron balls made their first appearance in the 16-bit version of Sonic the Hedgehog. In this game, they appear in various forms and sizes.

Spring Yard Zone features both large gray iron balls that float around in various patterns, and smaller, darker rows of iron balls that spin around fixed points inside narrow passageways. Medium-sized gray iron balls with chains attached to them also circle around fixed points in Labyrinth Zone and Scrap Brain Zone Act 3. Star Light Zone also has Seesaws that use small iron balls as counterweights. Lastly, there is Scrap Brain Zone Act 2 which has large gray iron balls attached to chains that swing back and forth.

Sonic the Hedgehog (8-bit)

SpikedBallLabyrinthZone8Bit

An iron ball in Sonic the Hedgehog.

In the 8-bit version of Sonic the Hedgehog, the iron balls make a brief appearance in Labyrinth Zone. Here, small gray iron balls orbit blue orbs embedded in the walls.

Sonic the Hedgehog 2

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A pair of iron balls in Sonic the Hedgehog 2.

In Sonic the Hedgehog 2, small and black slow-moving iron balls with gray spikes and green chains attached to them can be found orbiting platforms in Mystic Cave Zone.

Sonic the Hedgehog CD

SpikedBallWackyWorkbench

A row of rotating iron balls in Sonic the Hedgehog CD.

In Sonic the Hedgehog CD, the iron balls make a few appearances. In Rounds such as Wacky Workbench, there are strings of small gray iron balls that rotate around a fixed point. Also, in Stardust Speedway, there are bluish iron balls with long gray spikes. These iron balls move left and right on the local surfaces. They also come in and out of small devices that either float in midair or are embedded in the ground.

Sonic the Hedgehog 3 & Knuckles

In Sonic the Hedgehog 3, Sonic & Knuckles and its lock-on continuation Sonic the Hedgehog 3 & Knuckles, there are specific iron balls that block the player's path using different methods.

Sonic3SpikedBall

An iron ball in Marble Garden Zone in Sonic the Hedgehog 3.

In Marble Garden Zone, there are large gray iron balls attached to poles via chains. These iron balls swing around their poles either horizontally or vertically (depending on whether their poles are attached to a vertical or horizontal surface). Also, in Launch Base Zone Act 1, the player will encounter the Swing’m Spikez, a sub-boss that attacks by swinging around chains with small iron balls at their ends.

In Mushroom Hill Zone, rows of black iron balls with gray spikes appear during the boss battle with the Jet Mobile. Curiously, these iron balls will flash when the Jet Mobile takes damage. Also, in Flying Battery Zone, there are more high-tech-looking iron balls. In the outdoor sections of Flying Battery Zone, these iron balls orbit fixed points, and in the indoor sections, they sit by themselves, moving up and down in accordance to the magnetic currents running through the ceiling above them. In addition, the sub-boss Gapsule in Flying battery Zone uses iron balls from Marble Garden Zone at the end of its arms to attack the player.

Lava Reef Zone features a large variety of iron balls. In both Acts, there are small gray iron balls with chains attached to them that circle around fixed points. Also, exclusive to Lava Reef Zone Act 1 are iron balls identical to those from Marble Garden Zone that roll back and forth in the recesses they lie in. Exclusive to Lava Reef Zone Act 2 on the other hand are medium-sized gray iron balls that circle around walkable or passable cylinders, or around plaforms. Lastly, while fighting the Hot Mobile in Lava Reef Zone Act 2, the boss will deploy black iron balls and with gray spikes. In order to damage the Hot Mobile, the player has to let the iron balls collide with the Hot Mobile. Like the iron balls during the Jet Mobile fight, these iron balls flash when the Hot Mobile takes damage.

In Sonic the Hedgehog 3 & Knuckles, iron balls will also appear during Knuckles' edition of the Jet Drill battle. During this battle, the Jet Drill will fire a chain of iron balls from one of four different locations (either from the ceiling or from the floor) which will then re-emerge from another location. The Jet Drill itself will then travel along this chain before repeating the process. The formation of the iron ball chain is different each time.

Knuckles' Chaotix

Spiked-Ball-Knuckles-Chaotix

In Knuckles' Chaotix, the iron ball are known as the spike ball (トゲボール[3] Togebōru?). In this game, black iron balls with gray spikes appear only in the Special Stages where they lie along the player's path. Some of the Bumpers in the Special Stages also have iron balls connected to them by chains that sweep the area around them.

Touching an iron ball in the Special Stage will make the player lose ten Rings.

Sonic 3D Blast

Sonic3DRusticRuin

Iron balls in Rusty Ruin Zone in Sonic 3D Blast.

In Sonic 3D Blast, the iron balls made various appearances. In Green Grove Zone, there are gray iron balls with purple details that float around on their own in various patterns. Said Zone also features Hunter Badniks that have iron balls orbiting their bodies. Also, during the encounter with the Green Grove Zone boss, Eggman will be equipped with a large gray iron ball that he will attempt to drop on Sonic. This iron ball bounces a few times when dropped.

Rusty Ruin Zone features iron balls which appear to be made of stone. Among them are large ones that swing around poles that they are attached to via chains, as well as unique ones that appear like statues built into the ground.

Sonic Adventure

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A pair of iron balls in Sonic Adventure DX: Director's Cut.

In Sonic Adventure and Sonic Adventure DX: Director's Cut, iron balls became slightly more common obstacles. In these games, they are rather large and dark gray with whiteish blue-colored spikes and polished surfaces.

Some iron balls have chains attached to them and swing around a fixed point (which sometimes moves up and down). Other pairs of iron balls have poles attached between them and spin together around a shared fixed point. There are also some iron balls that float in midair, and some of them will be periodically slamming into the ground. Additionally, some iron balls are arranged so that they move around in rows.

Sonic Adventure 2

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Iron balls in Sonic Adventure 2: Battle.

In Sonic Adventure 2 and its remake Sonic Adventure 2: Battle, the iron balls appear again as obstacles. In these games, they are black with red-purple spikes on then.

Much like in Sonic Adventure and Sonic Adventure DX: Director's Cut, the player often encounters pairs of iron balls that are joined together by a horizontal pole which keeps them spinning around a fixed point. In other cases, they are simply floating in midair or rolling along the ground.

Sonic Advance series

Sonic Advance

SpikedBallAdvance

An iron ball in Angel Island Zone in Sonic Advance.

In Sonic Advance, the typical iron ball is called the Iron Ball with Thorns (トゲ付き鉄球[5] Toge-tsuki tekkyū?). In gameplay, gray iron balls with gray spikes appear in Angel Island Zone and yellow iron balls with gray spikes appear in Egg Rocket Zone. In both of these Zones, these iron balls float around in midair in different patterns.

During the battle with the Casino Paradise's boss, the Egg Ball, a technological-looking iron ball will appear from the same tubes that the Egg Ball is flying through as a distraction.

Sonic Advance 2

SpikedBallAdvance2

An iron ball in Egg Utopia in Sonic Advance 2.

In Sonic Advance 2, the iron ball is referred to as the Iron Ball with Thorn (刺付き鉄球[6] Toge-tsuki tekkyū?) again. In this game, the iron balls are teal-colored with gray spikes, and are only encountered in Egg Utopia. In gameplay, they float around in midair in different patterns.

Sonic Advance 3

Oh Tails, remember that Ghola from our first adventure

A Seesaw with an iron ball on it in Sonic Advance 3.

In Sonic Advance 3, small gray iron balls appear in Route 99 and Chaos Angel where they serve as the Seesaw gimmicks' counterweights.

Sonic Heroes

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An iron ball (left) in Sonic Heroes.

In Sonic Heroes, the iron balls appear as fairly standard obstacles in the stages. In this game, they are large black balls with gray spikes.

In gameplay, the iron balls float in midair in stationary positions. They typically appear along tracks where the player has little time to avoid them, like along rails, on Bobsled courses, or during the flight segments in Bullet Station. Also, the main artillery cannons on the Egg Albatross will be firing iron balls at the player.

Sonic the Hedgehog (2006)

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Iron balls in Dusty Desert in Sonic the Hedgehog (2006).

In Sonic the Hedgehog (2006), the iron balls appear as both obstacles and objects to be used by the player. In this game, they are black with a multitude of gray spikes on them.

In gameplay, the surfaces on iron balls will deal out damage to playable characters, objects and enemies that touch them. Also, in Action Stages like Dusty Desert and Kingdom Valley, local loose iron balls will be rolling down inclines. In other cases, the iron balls will be partially embedded in the ground to serve as stationary obstacles. In addition, Silver can grab any free iron balls with his Psychokinesis and utilize them as projectiles.

Sonic Storybook series

Sonic and the Secret Rings

IronBallSatSR

Iron balls in Sonic and the Secret Rings.

In Sonic and the Secret Rings, iron balls appear as common obstacles. In this game, they are large and gray with broad white spikes on them and golden frames around the bottom of said spikes.

In gameplay, the iron balls can be found in a multitude of places. Some are placed on or embedded in the ground, others float on the surface of water sections, and others float in midair. Some iron balls also move around in certain patters and around paths. Also, at the end of Sand Oasis's second mission, some iron balls will get in the player's way by rolling down a hill.

Sonic and the Black Knight

IronBallSatBK

Iron balls in Titanic Plain in Sonic and the Black Knight.

In Sonic and the Black Knight, the iron balls made a return appearance. In this game, they are completely black with similarly dark spikes on them. They also come in different sizes, ranging from big to medium-sized.

In gameplay, the iron balls can be found half-buried in the ground along the paths, simply for the purpose of acting as road obstacles.

Sonic Rush Adventure

Grind Step (Sonic Rush Adventure)

An iron ball in Plant Kingdom in Sonic Rush Adventure.

In Sonic Rush Adventure, iron balls are a rare obstacle. In this game, they are completely purple.

In gameplay, iron balls are only encountered during the 3D grinding segment at the end of Plant Kingdom Act 2. During this segment, iron ball will be situated on the Grind Rails, and it is the player's job to dodge them.

Sonic Unleashed

IronBallUnleashedXboxPS3

Iron balls in the Xbox 360 version of Sonic Unleashed.

In both the Xbox 360/PlayStation 3 and Wii/PlayStation 2 version of Sonic Unleashed, the iron balls appear as obstacles. In this game, they look identical to how they appeared in Sonic the Hedgehog (2006).

In gameplay, iron balls are somewhat uncommon obstacles, as they only appear on rare occasions in regular stages. In the stages available through DLCs however, they are quite common. They typically appear in the daytime stages, and only make a few rare appearances in the nighttime stages.

Iron balls are commonly found floating in midair. Some of them float around in different patterns by themselves or together with other iron balls, while others float in fixed positions, sometimes together with other iron balls. On a few occasions though, they can also be found lying on the ground, often acting as blockades.

In the Wii/PlayStation 2 version of Sonic Unleashed, the iron balls have extra mechanics and usages. As seen in the daytime Acts of Eggmanland, some iron balls will be floating in the air, only to come down on the ground when the player approaches them. Also, in Act III: Beyond the Factory for the nighttime version of Eggmanland, there will be machines depositing iron balls over bottomless pit, creating temporary barriers that the player has to be careful about passing through.

Sonic the Hedgehog 4: Episode I

IronBallSonic4Ep1

An iron ball in Sonic the Hedgehog 4: Episode I.

In Sonic the Hedgehog 4: Episode I, the iron balls make a brief appearance as obstacles. In this game, they are black with stubby gray spikes on them.

In gameplay, the iron balls appear during the chase segment of the boss battle with the Flying Eggman. Here, Dr. Eggman will occasionally throw iron balls down on the path in front of him for Sonic to collide with. Curiously, if Sonic does collide with an iron ball, the latter will disappear immediately afterward.

Sonic Colors

Colours spike balls

An iron ball beign dropped during the Frigate Orcan boss battle in the Wii version of Sonic Colors.

In both the Wii and Nintendo DS version of Sonic Colors, the iron balls appear as obstacles. In the Wii version of the game, they look much like they did in Sonic the Hedgehog (2006). In the Nintendo DS version ion the other hand, the iron balls are black with stubby white spikes.

In the Wii version of the game, the iron balls are recurring obstacles. On their own, they can be found floating in midair (or underwater). Some of them float around in certain patterns while others float in stationary positions. Whether they are moving or not though, the iron balls often appear in different formations with other iron balls. Some moving iron balls also have chains attached to them that keep them circling around a fixed point. Additionally, a few enemies and bosses make use of the iron balls. Certain Sprinklers for example will spit out iron balls (which will vanish after a while) to drop on the playable character, and the Frigate Orcan and Frigate Skullian will drop iron balls on the player's track.

In the Nintendo DS version of the game, the iron balls only appear during the boss battles with the Frigate Orcan and Frigate Skullian. Like on the Wii version, these bosses will periodically drop iron balls in hopes of hitting Sonic with them. After hitting the track once however, these iron balls will fall off of it.

Sonic Generations

Son Gen Seaside

An iron ball in the console/PC version of Sonic Generations.

In the console/PC version of Sonic Generations, the iron balls appear once more as obstacles. In this game, they look exactly like they did in the Wii version of Sonic Colors.

In gameplay, iron balls only make a few appearances in the main stages, namely in Speed Highway Act 1 and Seaside Hill Act 1. However, they make frequent appearances in the game's Challenge Acts. The iron balls may sometimes lie firmly on the ground. In most cases however, they float in midair. Some of these iron balls either sit still in midair while others move around in different patterns, sometimes by themselves or in formations with other iron balls. Some of them also circle around a fixed point that they have been chained to. Miniature iron balls also appear as counterweights on the Seesaws in the game.

Sonic Lost World

Slw - Copy 2016-04-26 14-37-12-472

Iron balls in the Wii U version of Sonic Lost World.

In both the Wii U and Nintendo 3DS version of Sonic Lost World, the iron balls appear as standard obstacles. In the Wii U version of the game, the iron balls are black with stubby gray spikes on them. In the Nintendo 3DS version of the game, the iron balls look much like their Wii U counterparts, except those are completely blackish-gray.

In the Wii U version, the iron balls appear frequently in auto running sections. They can commonly be found on the ground where they roll around in different patterns (usually back and forth). They also often roll together with other iron balls, sometimes in different formations. In Tropical Coast Zone ?, the iron balls can even be found floating around in midair. In certain other Zones however, the iron balls are sometimes embedded in the ground instead. The Sprinkler in Sky Road Zone ? also drops miniature iron balls as a part of its attack patterns. Similarly, the face-shaped platform Zomom uses during his boss battle in Desert Ruins Zone 2 will shoot iron balls at Sonic during the skydiving segments. Also, in Lava Mountain Zone 3, the level will produce iron balls during the last 2.5D segment that will roll throughout the segment. Lastly, in Hidden World Zone 4, there are iron balls contained inside bubbles with their own gravitational pull. When Sonic jumps off these bubbles, the iron balls will be sent flying in the opposite direction Sonic is jumping. This way, the iron balls can be used as projectiles against local enemies.

In the Nintendo 3DS version, the iron ball appear mostly as stationary obstacles. They can either be found lying still on the ground, floating on the water surfaces in Tropical Coast, floating in fixed positions in midair, or lying on top of Grind Rails. They also often appear together with other iron balls, forming either fields or string formation of iron balls. On a few rare occasions though, they can also be found rolling around on the ground or moving around in the air, sometimes in formations. In Sky Road Zone 3, iron balls half-buried in the ground can also be encountered.

Sonic Runners series

Sonic Runners

Lava Mountain (Sonic Runners) - Screenshot 4

Iron balls in Sonic Runners.

In Sonic Runners, iron balls appear occasionally as obstacles. In this game, they are black spheres with gray spikes on them.

In gameplay, iron balls appear during runs. They can be found floating in midair in different formations. However, it is possible to destroy them using the Indigo Asteroid. Dr. Eggman will also occasionally drop iron balls during the Iron Ball Eggmobile fight.

Sonic Runners Adventure

SRASkySanctuary2

Iron balls in Sonic Runners Adventure.

In Sonic Runners Adventure, the iron balls play the same role they had in the previous title. In this game, they look almost identical to their Sonic Runners counterparts.

In gameplay, iron balls appear during levels where they can be found floating in midair in different formations. The iron balls are also utilized by Dr. Eggman during the Iron Ball Eggmobile boss fights, with the way Eggman uses them being dependent on each boss fight.

Sonic Mania

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An iron ball in Lava Reef Zone in Sonic Mania.

In Sonic Mania, and its expansion Sonic Mania Plus, iron balls return as regular obstacles. In this game, they appear in various forms and sizes.

In Flying Battery Zone, there are iron balls with high-tech designs. In Flying Battery Zone's outdoor sections, these iron balls orbit fixed points. In the Zone's indoor sections on the other hand, they sit by themselves, moving up and down according to the magnetic currents running through the ceiling above them.

In Stardust Speedway Zone, there are strings of small gray iron balls that orbit fixed points. In the same Zone, there are also bluish iron balls with long gray spikes. These iron balls are expelled directly upward from small openings in the ground, which they then subsequently fall back into, only to repeat the process. Also, in Stardust Speedway Zone Act 1, there are golden iron balls with gray spikes and green moss on them that circle horizontally around vertical poles, which they are attached to by chains.

In Lava Reef Zone Act 1 are medium-sized gray iron balls attached to chains that swing back and forth. There are also large gray iron balls that can suddenly come down from the ceiling and roll in the direction of the playable character, who must outrun them. The same iron balls can also be found rolling back and forth within recesses in the paths. Exclusive to Lava Reef Act 2 on the other hand are medium-sized gray iron balls that circle around walkable or passable cylinders. There are also local machines that will deposit medium-sized iron balls on Conveyor Belts.

Certain bosses make use of the large gray iron balls. The Drillerdroid, for example, will sometimes cause such iron balls to fall down from the ceiling during its boss battle. Also, the Heavy Rider will make use of a flail that incorporates the giant iron ball as an offensive weapon.

Sonic Forces

Iron Ball (SF)

An iron ball in Casino Forest in Sonic Forces.

In Sonic Forces, the iron balls resurface as obstacles. In this game, their appearance is identical to their design in Sonic Lost World.

In stages such as Casino Forest and Iron Fortress, there are iron balls that move around in midair by themselves. There is also the Sprinklers which will attempt to drop iron balls on the playable characters, although these iron balls will disappear a while after being dropped. Also, in Vanish Panel 2, there are instances where rolling iron balls will be set loose upon the player whenever certain walls are opened. Also, during the first boss fight with Infinite, taking damage from his cubes can potentially lead to a virtual reality with iron balls to avoid.

The Episode Shadow DLC makes more elaborate usage of the iron balls. Much like in Sonic Adventure 2, the player often encounters pairs of iron balls in Enemy Territory and Eggman's Facility that are joined together by a pole which keeps them spinning around a fixed point. The aforementioned stages also have iron balls that move around in midair like those in the main game, except these are part of entire iron ball formations. Lastly, in Eggman's Facility, there will be iron balls moving down the slide segments alongside Shadow.

See also

References

  1. Sonic Team (20 February 2007). Sonic and the Secret Rings. Wii. Sega. Area/Level: Dinosaur Jungle. "Shahra: If those iron balls hit us, we'll fall into the water!"
  2. (in Japanese) ソニックアドベンチャー ナビゲーションガイド. Softbank Creative. March 1999. pp. 18. ISBN 978-4797308624.
  3. 3.0 3.1 Knuckles' Chaotix (Sega 32X) Japanese instruction booklet, p. 37.
  4. Black, Fletcher (14 November 2006). "Sonic the Hedgehog • Wave Ocean". Sonic the Hedgehog: Official Game Guide. Prima Games. pp. 69. ISBN 978-0761555100. "Watch for the Ring Capsules in hard-to-reach places, such as between two spiked balls or next to the base of the cliffs."
  5. (in Japanese) ソニックアドバンス必勝パーフェクトガイド Aspect. February 8 2002. p. 26. ISBN 978-4757209480.
  6. (in Japanese) ソニックアドバンス2公式ガイドブック. Aspect. January 2003. p. 18. ISBN 978-4757209480.
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